The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Viewing Journal: Shakugan no Shana (complete)

Series Overview
DVD Info

Overall= C+
Story = C+
Video = B-
Audio = C+


Sakai Yuuji, a high school student who expected his normal life to last forever, is dead. When he was on his way home he witnessed a shocking view as the world suddenly froze: people were engulfed by blue flames and a monster resembling a large doll swallowed them. Just as the monster prepared to consume Yuuji, a sword-wielding girl in black attire with flaming red eyes and hair that burns like embers saved him from the monster. The girl called herself a "Flame Haze" who hunts the "Guze no Tomogara", creatures from another world. As Yuuji noticed a blue flame in his chest, she called him a "Torch", a temporary replacement, saying that the "real" Yuuji's existence had already ended. Unfazed, Yuuji befriended the strange girl, named her "Shana", and joined her fight against Tomogara and other Flame Hazes. (Source: ANN)

A short review this time because, although this show has a dark and original plot with lots of dramatic potential plus a good amount of action and impressive visuals; there was one thing that hampered my enjoyment of it. That being the "cute" moe-type personality of Shana.

Shana starts out seeming like she is going to be this bad-ass fighter. And for a time she is, but then after a while she starts to dull down and become weak. I know that this is supposed to be because of her relationship with Yuuji, but even when that wasn't a factor she came off as weak. I think the show does this to make Shana seem vulnerable, but the price was that it failed to cash in on the dramatic potential that could have resulted from a stronger character.

Plus despite the original plot and interesting ideas presented in the show, a lot of the character relationships were common anime stereotypes that you'd find in any high-school drama. There's the love triangle, the boys fawning over the older woman, the boy who has girls fighting over him but doesn't even realize it... These stereotypes dull the edge of what could have been an otherwise striking storyline.

So in the end, I would say this is worth checking out if you are looking for something original and dark. But be wary that the novelty of the plot can wear thin after you are exposed to the romantic cliches.

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